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Traditional leaders want Hosi Ngove to leave

Last Monday (May 13), nine traditional leaders protested in Giyani calling for the removal of Hosi Ngove (Pheni Ngove) as chairperson of the Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders.

They accuse him of using his position for self-interest. According to a memorandum read by Hatlani Mathebula, the head of a group representing the nine traditional leaders, Hosi Ngove uses his position to oppress them due to his dispute with them over territory. They blame the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA) for being complicit to the injustice towards them by using an old Black Authorities Act 68 of 1951 to recognise few traditional leaders and overlook others.

“Because of this, we have traditional leaders that operate under trees because the department does not recognise them, despite being recognised by the community that they serve as legitimate leaders,” explained Mathebula, demanding equal treatment for all traditional leaders as well as banishment of the Act.

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They claim that the Black Authorities Act, which was first introduced in 1951 to support the Apartheid government’s policy of separate development, made unfair provisions for the establishment of regional and territorial authorities that resulted in some territories being taken and allocated to certain traditional leaders that had connections at the time.

“The Act has massively benefitted Ngove, and enables him to trample over other traditional leaders even those whose chieftaincies have been restored such as Hosi Siyandhani, Maswanganyi, and others because CoGHSTA supports him by refusing to recognise them properly,” he said. “The government should understand that the Act has enabled atrocities against some traditional leaders and therefore, we demand that it be repealed as soon as possible because Ngove uses it to trample us,” he said.

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The Act was supposed to have been repealed during former president Jacob Zuma’s term in office. In 2010 Zuma enacted a bill called the Black Authorities Repeal Bill that aimed to repeal the Black Authorities Act 68 of 1951 and replaced it with legislation that would encompass all traditional leaders, even those not recognised by the present Act.

The group, which submitted the memorandum to both Greater Giyani and Mopani District municipalities, gave the government seven days to respond, threatening to stage a massive protest, including preventing voting in areas where they have authority, if their demands are not adhered to. Meanwhile, Hosi Ngove was not available for comment.

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His phone went unanswered, and he did not respond to a WhatsApp message. In response to a question concerning CoGHSTA’s alleged involvement in the persecution of certain traditional leaders in Giyani, Molebatsi Masedi, the department’s spokesperson, stated that the department was not aware of any conflict between Hosi Ngove and some traditional leaders in Giyani. “As of now, we are not aware of any conflict between Hosi Ngove and the traditional leaders in Giyani.” She said that the department will however look into it.

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